OFWs in Taiwan assail compulsory insurance fee

IMUS, Cavite, Nov. 22, 2010—Filipino migrant workers in Taiwan have assailed the new law making an insurance plan compulsory among overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

Dave Chang, chairperson of Migrante in Taiwan in a statement said the new regulation will shoo away prospective employers for it will add to their already heavy burden.

“We have confirmed this week from an applicant for Taiwan that she has been forced to pay the sum of P6,500.00 as insurance fee. For us, this is another burden, not only to migrant workers who are already debt ridden, but to the employers as well. However, we are pretty sure that the OFWs are the ones who will suffer the most for the employers will pass the burden to the poor contract worker,” he said.

According to Chang, there were already reports in Taiwanese newspapers saying that 50,000 job orders for Filipinos have already been cancelled due to the high cost of hiring. He said that job brokers and the Philippine recruitment agencies that are sending laborers to Taiwan are already collecting a huge sum of NT$5,000 (equivalent of P7, 180.25 based on the existing FOREX). In addition to this, there is also a mandatory insurance coverage for foreign workers in Taiwan which are both paid monthly by employers and employees alike; however, it is the latter that is paying more.

“These include monthly payments for medical and labor insurance which cost NT$236 (US$7.75) and NT$576 (US$18.92) respectively,” Chang said.

But this is only the tip of the iceberg. Chang reveals that in case that the OFWs themselves would be the ones to shoulder its costs, this would be an additional burden to them as they pay for many expenses that should be shouldered by the employers in the first place: Brokers’ service fees – NT$1666; Airfare – NT$222 – 333; Alien Residence Certificate – NT$83; Medical Check-ups – NT$222; Income Tax – NT$950 (6%) but if enter Taiwan from July 2-Dec 31 need to pay 20%; Placement Fee – NT$1806 – NT$2778; and Board and Lodging Fees (for non domestic workers) – NT$5,000

“This totals NT$11,844 a month if we include the medical and labor insurance fees. If you add the insurance as required by Republic Act (RA) No. 10022, this would grow to NT$12,026 a month. The minimum wage in Taiwan is NT$17,280 and the OFW is left with only NT$5436 in monthly earnings,” Chang exclaimed.

“Either the ones who drafted the new law are unaware of the situation in Taiwan and in other places where local legislation already requires mandatory insurance for foreign workers or are ignorant even of the insurance coverage of the OWWA or even where the Assistance to Nationals (ATN) fund should go to,” he added (Published in CBCPNews.com)